A new battery that uses an array of lithium ions instead of electrons could offer the answer to one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
In a new study published online in the journal Nature Chemistry, researchers from the University of Adelaide and the University the Netherlands used the array to show that the lithium ions, not the electrons, could be the culprit in the chemical reactions in the battery’s electrolyte.
In their experiment, the team tested two types of lithium ion batteries in a laboratory and found that the array made the battery behave as if it had two electrodes.
The battery worked by absorbing a significant amount of energy when it was charging, while the electrons remained outside the battery.
In addition, the lithium ion battery, unlike the traditional Li-ion battery, was not subject to overheating and it would not need to be charged for long periods of time, the researchers say.
The research was supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Australian Government through the ARC’s New Energy Infrastructure Initiative (NIEI).
The study also addressed the question of whether a new battery could work on a small scale without any expensive components.
“This work was motivated by our experience in the development of lithium-ion batteries in laboratories,” said senior author and University of South Australia researcher Peter De Fries.
“With these batteries, the energy storage is produced through an electrochemical reaction between the lithium and the electrolyte, and it is the electrochemical process that allows the battery to work in the lab.”
He said the battery could be used in commercial applications such as the solar panels and batteries for mobile phones and electric vehicles.
“We believe the new array could be a key technology to develop commercially viable lithium-based batteries,” De Fues said.
The new research also adds to a growing body of research on how the electronic arrays and electrodes of the new battery react when they interact with each other.
The electronic arrays in these batteries are comprised of an array composed of an electrode and a lithium ion that is charged to about 3,500 volts, according to the ARC.
When they are charged to higher voltages, the battery begins to behave like a conventional lithium ion.
This causes the electrons to be pushed out of the battery as it is being charged, so they are unable to reach the electrodes.
In the laboratory, this leads to an electrical discharge, which could be dangerous.
However, this is a minor problem, because the battery is already being charged and discharged in a process called discharge cycling.
De Fures said this was the only time the electrodes would experience an electrical current when the batteries were being charged or discharged.
“In the laboratory it is not a problem because we have a much larger battery with more charge and discharge cycles,” he said.
“The electrode in the lithium battery will react to the discharge cycle by emitting an electric field, so that will cause the electrons that are left in the electrode to be pulled out of it.”
De Foses team also demonstrated that the electronic array could produce the same amount of heat when it is charging and discharge as it would when it had not been charged.
This is important because it allows the batteries to remain in charge for long times without overheating.
“If you want to have a battery that works well in a low temperature environment, this kind of temperature control is very important,” De Feues said, adding that the battery was also able to operate in conditions where there was little or no current flow.
The batteries are also suitable for use in smaller, more energy-efficient devices that could run on solar energy, De Fuses said.
De Feuses said the results of this research suggest the new electronic arrays could also be useful in applications such a solar energy battery, which uses a small amount of power to store solar energy.
“For instance, solar energy batteries can be used for use as a power storage device in a portable device,” he explained.
“It could be an energy storage device that has a much smaller size compared to a conventional battery.”
De Feoses research team has also shown that the new batteries can operate in extreme environments, such as deep snow or ice.
“As an example, the array can be put in the Arctic for several days and still work, which is very useful for an energy-storage device in that it allows you to get the batteries into the Arctic at very low temperatures,” he added.